Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Honeymoon - San Francisco.

I was just sitting here remembering that this time last year we had just returned from the most amazing honeymoon ever. Then I remembered that I never even blogged about it! Since we made three stops on our honeymoon, I thought I'd break the posts into three to save me going on for too long!

We both love America so knew this had to be the place for our honeymoon. We had been to New York, New Orleans, Miami and Vegas in the past so wanted to try some new places. We also wanted to make sure we experienced a bit of typical honeymoon paradise with somewhere exoctic. We used a company called The Internet Traveller and they helped us put together our ideal package:

San Francisco for 3 nights
Oahu for 6 nights
Vegas for 3 nights

We flew direct to San Francisco from Heathrow on the Monday after our Saturday wedding. I am so glad we didn't go on the Sunday as things would have just been too hectic! The flight was around 9 hours which is not ideal but we made the most of the inflight movies and got some sleep so we would be prepared to stay up when we arrived that afternoon in San Francisco.

We stayed at the amazing and friendly Argonaut Hotel on Fisherman's Wharf. The staff were amazing and upgraded us to a huge room when they realised we were on honeymoon. It was also the perfect location with a view of the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz from our shutter style windows.

The hotel is in a great location for the 5 minute walk down to Pier 39 where you'll find plenty of restaurants, including the Hard Rock Cafe (we try to visit one in every city!) You can also seal spot on the pier and have great views out across San Francisco Bay. Just up the road from the hotel is an In 'n' Out burger too - you need to experince this at least once!

We spent the first afternoon just exploring and settling in and got up early the next day for our tour of Alcatraz! We walked from our hotel down to the Alcatraz Landing tour stop (pre-book your tickets before you and get to the landing spot in plenty of time as queues can be long although they move quickly!).

The tour was so much and so well organised. We did a self guided tour with headsets which meant we could go at our own pace. It's not too busy and there is plenty of time to get the photos you want. It's really worth a visit to learn about the history of the island and it still has that eerie feeling to it! Not sure I'd be signing up for the night tours!!

We had great fun exploring the cells, learning about some of the notorious criminals and escape plots and admiring the views of San Francisco from the island. The tour is a great way to spend half a day.

That, we had booked a segway trip around Golden Gate park. This combined a way of seeing the vast park with the fun of trying segways for the first time! We took a taxi to the meeting point from our hotel for about $15.

Our tour guide was really knowledgable about the park and was able to share some funny stories rather than just the typical historical details. The segways were really straightforward to use once you got the hang of them (some took longer than others to get the hang of them!) We were on them for about an hour and had a great time exploring. It can feel pretty breezy when you are on board but the sun is shining so the gloves are a good idea - Kieran ended up with really sunburnt hands!

You can't visit America and not do some shopping and in San Francisco, the place to go was Union Square. This was a little while away from our hotel so we bought an on-off 24 hour tour bus ticket. This meant we could jump off at Union Square and get back on any time we liked. It would also be handy for a general site seeing tour later in the evening!

There are plenty of the typical American brands around Union Square such as Forever 21, Levis, Tiffanys, Macy's etc. More importantly, there is also a Cheesecake Factory - my fave place to eat in America!! It's on the top of Macy's so we had lunch on the balcony in the sunshine over looking the square.

 Sculpture in Union Sq.
 Kieran's fave shop
 View from Macy's roof of the square
Lunch on the roof
As the square is away from the bay, it's a lot warmer. Around the bay it can get really breezy (hence the investment in the tourist sweatshirts!)
That evening, we made the most of our bus tickets and took at evening tour of San Francisco. The tour went through China Town, the business district and past the painted lady Victorian houses you might recognise from Mrs. Doubtfire.
 Mrs. Doubtfire's house!
The highest point in San Francisco
Before we knew it, it was our last day in San Francisco. We bought an open top ticket for a tour of the Golden Gate bridge and the town of Sausalito - where I would move to right away if I had a spare $1million!
 Crossing the bridge
 On the other side
In Sausalito
I can definitely say that San Fran is one of my favourite ever places. It feels so laid back but there is still plenty to do. It has the sunshine and the shops without feeling crowded or rushed and it is such a pretty place. Highly recommended - I can't wait to go back!

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